but I have prayed for you that your faith may not fail. And when you have turned again, strengthen your brothers.” Luke 22:32 ESV
He comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any kind of affliction, through the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 2 Corinthians 1:4 ESV
The phone is ringing. It’s my dad. I can scarce take it in. A tumor in Mum’s brain.
He calls again. It’s several, possibly cancerous, surgery needed. My Mum may wake up, speech taken, or worse. Much worse.
There is no time to think, just act. Our wee girl has just turned one. She will join me on the long trip.
I need to be at my Mum’s side, but never before have I left my big girl, all of three years old, behind for more than one night. My heart rips. But I know this is right.
Surgeons operate. Removal is impossible; it’s wrapped around vital parts of her brain. Her likely diagnosis: glioblastoma multiforme. Googling prepares us for heart-sinking, crushing news.
It is confirmed only days later: terminal, no cure, two to three months to live. I seek a reprieve and find it – in festering anger, in distraction, and in focusing on a hope, no matter how small it seems.
But one night, as I walk my fussing baby girl to sleep, surrounded by majestic mountains and a glistening lake below, an indescribable peace descends. I break. I cannot help but weep.
I feel the nearness of a God I do not know. Here is a gentle, compassionate Father stooping down to wrap me in Himself. A God who sees my heaving heart beneath, all the waves of pain and fear and shame I cannot breathe. And He breathes for me: “I see you. I know you. I love you.”
After almost two months, I return to the other side of the world. I cannot split up our little family again. I say good-bye to my Mum, who lies in bed, too exhausted to stand, after several weeks of radiation therapy, six days a week. I do not know if I will ever see her again.
A few weeks later, a panic attack speaks truth to my heart. I return. I bathe, feed, and love the one who gave me breath.
In the midst of this most awful suffering, I cannot fathom a palpable peace blanketing my Mum. The very same peace from only weeks before. A peace that now calls my Mum home.
Less than five months after the phone call, my Mum breathes her last. I am left bereft and grieving deeply. But in this deep calling to deep a seed of yearning is planted — a seed that only grows upon my return.
I hungrily devour beautiful Christian testimonies of grace, longing to discover what I do not know. I cannot believe what I read. Tears begin to flow as I lean back into the embrace of a living, breathing Savior. I taste a grace I hadn’t realized was mine, after walking in darkness for more twenty years.
I cannot understand how I could ever have walked so blind. All I know is that the Spirit of God has opened my eyes to see again. So, I begin to pray: “LORD, show me why I fled. Show me how I became so blind to Your love for me.”
Instead of answering my fleshly question that was squarely focused on myself and my stumbling, He answered my much much deeper desire: “LORD, show me why You stayed. Show me Your ever present love and never-ending mercy to me. Show me how You have been opening my eyes, more and more, to believe and trust in You above all else.”
Celebrate Jesus and Lift the Veil is a book not just for me, but for all of us struggling to understand. For how can a holy God remain faithful to someone who was bathed in the love of the LORD from their conception and yet still turned their back and forsook their very first Love?
Because our Father knows. Because our Father cares. For, He prayed for me and He prayed for you and each one of our loved ones, long before Satan began to sift us like wheat, so that our faith would not fail (Luke 22:32) and that in our returning we may feed His lambs and sheep the pure and unadultered Word of God.
He is praying even now through our aching heart and our fading body (Romans 8:26, 1 Corinthians 12:26), so that His Body may be made One. For, as we become less and less, our mighty LORD arises in and through us ever more. Just as He did in and through my Mum in her final months on earth.
Come let’s end our time together with a Promise from our God’s Holy Word. Let’s invite God to flame alive His Word in our grieving hearts that He may break open the fallow ground, so we might rise from our unbelief to see what Jesus sees. So that we might rise to celebrate the life of Jesus at work in our loved ones’ hearts and in our own. For, the hem of Christ’s robe fills the Temple: it is finished, the work is done. The law of God has been fulfilled at the Cross, in the person and blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ, our LORD, the blameless and spotless lamb of God .
In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne, and the hem of his robe filled the temple. Isaiah 6:1 ESV
Celebrate Jesus and Behold Him Face to Face
Do you remember the day your (prodigal) loved ones gave their heart to the LORD? Recall the joy of this day. Recall the Promise of this day.
Now, before we rest with the Word of God, let’s soak in His invitation to us to become His intercession for His Body. May our mighty God kneel us at His feet. May we feel the oil of His Holy Spirit pouring out here upon us in the presence of our enemies. And may we offer it back up to Him that He might set it alight to burn as pure incense, that we might shine the lamp of His love and truth and grace brightly in our midst.
Let’s ask the LORD to speak to us from the birthing of our loved ones’ joy and the Promise He spoke over them as they received the joy of their salvation so long ago. Come, let’s read the Scripture below, aloud and listen for God’s personal and precious Promise to us.
Speak oh LORD, for we, Your servants, are listening.
Isaiah 55:10-13 (The Message) “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” God’s Decree. “For as the sky soars high above earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think. Just as rain and snow descend from the skies and don’t go back until they’ve watered the earth, Doing their work of making things grow and blossom, producing seed for farmers and food for the hungry, So will the words that come out of my mouth not come back empty-handed. They’ll do the work I sent them to do, they’ll complete the assignment I gave them.
“So you’ll go out in joy, you’ll be led into a whole and complete life. The mountains and hills will lead the parade, bursting with song. All the trees of the forest will join the procession, exuberant with applause. No more thistles, but giant sequoias, no more thornbushes, but stately pines — Monuments to me, to God, living and lasting evidence of God.”
Thank You, Jesus!
Can you take what God spoke to your heart and join me in lifting it up in praise? Can you celebrate Jesus living and breathing in you and your loved one/s today? Come, let’s glorify the King of Kings today: